An alleged Israeli strike in Syria overnight Tuesday killed at least eight people, all of whom appear to be soldiers, a war monitoring group said.
Syrian state media earlier reported an Israeli attack near the Syrian capital of Damascus and in the central province of Homs, prompting a response from national air defenses.
The targets of the reported Israeli attacks were not immediately clear. The attacks are the first reported since the re-election of Syrian President Bashar Assad for a fourth seven-year term and the first strike in a month.
In a statement, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights said Israeli strikes targeted the area of the Damascus airport as well as the area of Homs province, Hama and Latakia.
The war monitoring group said among the dead are five Israeli soldiers and three foreign fighters. “The strikes have led to human losses in Homs, where rescue teams have been dispatched to the targeted sites,” the observatory said.
The observatory claimed that loud explosions that were heard in Hama and Latakia governorates were due to air-defense systems that launched several surface-to-air missiles, attempting to intercept the Israeli rockets.
“It is worth noting that Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed militias were seen on high alert in the perimeter of Damascus international airport for unknown reasons since early June,” the observatory added.
Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.
Israel views Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier as a red line, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.